A Snapshot of Homelessness in Denton County
On May 12, the Denton County Homeless Coalition presented the findings of the annual Point-in-Time Count that was held back in January across Denton County as well as all over the country.
This count is required in order to apply for Continuum of Care (CoC) funding from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This count provides a snapshot and is one of the primary sources used to combat homelessness throughout the year.
The count helps to answer questions about the demographics of those experiencing homelessness, why they are experiencing homelessness, and what are their various needs and experiences are. Without this data, agencies working to end homeless would have a much harder time knowing the changing trends, current needs, and full extent of homelessness in our community.
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about people who are experiencing homelessness, according to Courtney Cross of United Way of Denton County, is that they are in that situation because of substance abuse. The PIT Count shows that it is much more common that substance abuse is the result of homelessness, not the cause. In fact, less than 10% are homeless because of substance abuse/addiction, while 23% report that it’s a current health concern.
So what is the number one cause of homelessness in Denton County? Unemployment.
City of Denton Human Services Coordinator Dani Shaw pointed out an important relation, the current top need of those experiencing homelessness is transportation. In other words, if a person doesn’t have access to transportation (public or otherwise), it can be fairly difficult to get and keep a job.
For more key findings from this years PIT Count, check out photos from the exhibit below. To read the full report, check it out here on the United Way of Denton County website.
Photos by Tiffany Youngblood
Header Image Design by Christopher Rodgers